Morrow passes stream restoration funds

By Justin Reedy

A stream in Morrow that has been ravaged by years of development nearby could soon be getting restored to a normal state.

East Jesters Creek has been targeted by the city and the Clayton County Water Authority for a restoration project to help improve the ecological conditions along and around the stream.

The badly eroded stream is suffering from a silt-filled channel, a lack of vegetation on its banks and a shortage of wildlife. The creek runs between Reynolds Nature Preserve and Gateway Village, a master-planned, multi-use development project.

The Morrow City Council has approved $50,000 in funding for the first phase of the Jesters Creek restoration project, with the remainder of the estimated $600,000 to $700,000 project coming from the Water Authority. The CCWA board of directors will vote on that funding at its meeting July 10, and construction could begin as early as August. The project would tackle the restoration of about a half-mile of the stream from Morrow's northern city limit to near Reynolds Road.

"This is a fantastic project to get an area cleaned up that desperately needs it," said Morrow City Manager John Lampl. "That stream really needs to be restored. We've got a mosquito problem around there, and erosion problems."

Restoring the Jesters Creek corridor would help improve local water quality and save taxpayer money, officials say. Restoring the stream's badly eroded banks will help bring wildlife back, will lead to more natural water filtration and reduce the amount of sediment going into the county's water supply, according to Mike Thomas, project manager for the CCWA.

"What we've seen is if we keep developing, and we don't address these problems, our streams won't be a good habitat," said Thomas. "And it costs money to remove sediment at our drinking water plant, so it does provide a direct cost benefit."